Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why Are These Books Sitting on the Shelf? a.k.a. Vacation Reads for You!

 So this is Ms Eileen, at the Library on a quiet snowing day, doing some weekly chores. While taking some books off the 'NEW' shelf, what do I find but a bunch of great new books that should NOT just be sitting here! They should be checked out! Now I know your parents have lots to do this time of year, but you need to get yourself to the Library pronto and borrow these books! You're going to need something to read over school vacation anyway. So here are some titles to get you started:

The Grimm Conclusion by Adam GidwitzI don't even need to say much about this one. The final book in the Grimm trilogy (A Tale Dark & Grimm, In a Glass Grimmly) should really be scaring you while simultaneously making you laugh - RIGHT NOW.

Einstein the Class Hamster by Janet Tashjian
C'mon - who doesn't love a book about a class hamster? Check out these glowing reviews!
* “Give this to kids who think they don’t like reading. It might change their minds.” —Booklist, starred review
* “A kinder, gentler Wimpy Kid with all the fun and more plot.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland
The first in a new series! It's supposed to be flying off the shelf! Listen to this:
"Filled with unicorns, dragons, phoenixes, and other fairy tale creatures, the Menagerie is a highly guarded secret facility in the small town of Xanadu, Wyoming. At least, it was a secret—until six griffin cubs escaped."
Fans of Fablehaven, mysteries and/or animals need to read this!

The Gumazing Gum Girl! Chews Your Destiny by Rhode Montijo
 Sort of an intro to graphic novels for the younger set - how awesome is a superhero made of chewing gum??

Bongo Fishing by Thatcher Hurd
Sci-fi lite. All I'm going to say is UFO, glazed donuts, and the word 'zany'.

Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi
I shouldn't even have to say anything - the cover (and title) speaks for itself.

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
This is a finalist for the National Book Award! (that means it better be good!)
Look what the New York Times said:
"Librarians often say that every book is not for every child, but “The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp” is.” (The New York Times Book Review, July 14, 2013)

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher
First in a planned series, give this to fans of Sammy Keyes mysteries. In fact, I think I'm going to take this one home myself...so there.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

5 Ways to Celebrate the Season With Children's Books

Rather than just give you a list of my favorite holiday books, I thought I would scour Libraryland & Children's Book World to find you some fun ways to incorporate children's books into your holiday. Ready? Grab some cocoa if you need to...

1. I came across this post at Delightful Children's Books blog and screamed, "yes"! This is truly awesome! A Bookish Advent Calendar. Why didn't I think of that? The best part it, you can use books you already own, or add a few titles you find at the Library!

Now to be fair, I do have a similar ritual. Before holidays, I ransack my kids bookshelves at home to find those hidden book fair paperbacks and other titles that lend themselves to the particular holiday. Then I leave them in a pile to make sure we get to them. My house is just crazy enough that it's unlikely we could do 24 straight nights, but the intent is there. Don't sweat it. If you miss a night, double up the next evening. Many of my favorite titles are included in this list too!

2. Onto gift-giving. Did you know the Connecticut Library Consortium puts out the annual
"Best Books for Children: A List for Holiday Giving"
Compiled by CLC member librarians, often including Ms Patty and myself. It should be out soon and I will update this link with it.  Librarians from all around the State contribute and come up with great titles. So here's how to give them - courtesy of The First Hundred blog by Rebecca.  

3. A classic gift-giving idea that you can't go wrong with is a framed illustration from a vintage children's book. Check out all the library book sales you see advertised and find your gift for super cheap! And if that requires too much effort, just check out Etsy where you can find some really adorable vintage illustrations ready to frame.

4. Pop-up books. Since they have that 'special' quality to them, they are perfect for holiday giving. My younger daughter has always adored them, so I always buy her one for her birthday and/or Christmas. Here are some of her faves:

You can't go wrong with Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart, but there are a ton of them out there. These don't even include all the ones about Christmas and winter. Here's what I'm thinking of giving her this year, but don't tell.

5. Decorating. I had to share this great idea for a tree, courtesy of my kids' art teacher. Each year their school PTO donates a tree decorated by the kids to the Wadsworth Atheneum's Festival of Trees. This year, we did a Dr. Seuss inspired tree that came out adorable! I don't have a photo yet, but check out this example at apopofpretty.com
or look for ideas on Pinterest

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Sad Goodbye

On Monday we learned that Barbara Park, best-selling author of the Junie B. Jones books, passed away from ovarian cancer. I was truly saddened to hear for a variety reasons - she was too young, ovarian cancer is just awful, and what would become of that smart-mouthed kid that I have known for years? But mostly because she brought laughter to my house many times when I would read her books to my daughters.
Both my girls loved the Junie B. books. I know some parents weren't fond of the sassy, trouble-maker who didn't always use correct grammar.  In fact, while her books sold some 55 million copies in North America alone, they were often banned in homes and sometimes schools.

But none of that mattered to my daughters and I when we would snuggle up in bed and literally ROFL (roll on floor laughing) at Junie B.'s antics. My girls were in kindergarten or first grade when they went through their Junie B. phase, and while they tried to read some of the text, they often got tired easily and I would take over. We amassed a collection of Junie B. paperbacks that spanned from Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus to Junie B. Jones, First Grader: Aloha-ha-ha.  One of the best thing about Junie B. was that maybe your child wouldn't be fresh to her teacher or call her friend a stupid-head or do something not-so-nice to her baby brother, but Junie B. could. And did. And maybe that was enough so you didn't have to.
Anyway, I read this quote from the Reuters article about her death, and it really captured my families love for what she created and what it meant to us.

The author once said some people measure the value of a children's book in terms of morals lessons it tries to impose or role models it depicts, but she did not agree.
"Personally, I happen to think that a book is of extraordinary value if it gives the reader nothing more than a smile or two. In fact, I happen to think that's huge," she said.

I leave you with my tribute to Barbara. A picture of my younger daughter from a theater production of Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells. See, I told you we really loved Junie B.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

2 Great CT Children's Book Events!

 I just had to share info about these 2 great events that are happening in CT beginning the weekend of Nov 9th!

This one you may know about as it happens every year, but it's always a good time (even if you just go to see the book characters or get signed books!) Some authors I'd like to see include Nick Bruel (Bad Kitty), Diane DeGroat (Gilbert & friends), and Jarrett Krosoczka (Lunch Lady). Just a note - be sure to stop at the UConn Dairy Bar while in Storrs.

22nd Annual CT Children's Book Fair

 Saturday & Sunday
November 9-10, 2013
10:00 am until 5:00 pm / Univ. of CT campus

 The second event kicks off Nov 9 at the New Britain Museum of American Art. having grown up not too far from there, this museum holds a special place in my heart. My kids often take some of their great art classes too. I am thrilled that they are having an exhibit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are! (I've already booked a trip for my Girl Scout troop!)

 Maurice Sendak

Nov. 9, 2013–Feb. 9, 2014 

Maurice Sendak will be comprised of 65 works, culled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sendak’s beloved Where the Wild Things Are.
Also in the gallery will be a film, documentaries, a reading table for children and families, and an interactive art-making area.


Monday, October 28, 2013

On the Farm!

Who doesn't love a good old fashioned FARM storytime?! And sometimes, the easiest crafts can be the most fun. In this case, not really a craft either. Just fun rollin' the playdough!

Some of our favorite FARM stories include:
Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch - Mary Peterson
Sally Goes to the Farm - Stephen Huneck
Farmer Brown Goes Round and Round - Teri Sloat
The Cow Loves Cookies - Karma Wilson
The Big Red Barn - Margaret Wise Brown
Piglets Belong to Pigs - Scholastic Rookie Preschool
Old MacDonald Had a Woodshop - Lisa Shulman
Barn Dance - Bill Martin 

Yes, the tractors got stuck in the 'mud' and some animals needed to be put behind a fence. But we also saw a snake farm, had an entirely green farm, and witnessed alot of sharing.

And had to do my favorite farm song of course:

All Around the Barnyard
All around the barnyard, the animals are fast asleep (kids pretend to sleep)
Sleeping cows and horses, sleeping pigs and sheep. (you can snore, etc)
But here comes that cocky rooster, to sound his daily alarm...
"Cock-a-doodle-doo!" Wake up sleepy farm! (act like a rooster and yell really loud so they all wake up!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Awesome New Books!


Ms. Eileen must have been very busy reading reviews, journals, and children lit blogs, because she has ordered a bumper crop of new picture books for the library (Like the harvest time reference?)  The other day a big order came in and we were beside ourselves with giggles, and "check this out!", and "Oh, so pretty!", and so forth.  Here are some of those that we can't wait to get into the hands of young readers and their families:

"Crankee Doodle", by Tom Angelberger:
Those familiar with Tom Angelberger's work on the "Origami Yoda" series will recognize the author's quick wit.  This book is silly in the best way possible, with the perfect illustrations by Cece Bell.  Crankee Doodle feels too bored and too grumpy to go into town which he feels is too noisy, people are ringing bells and eating pies, for goodness sakes.  But his cheerful pony won't give up; "you could buy a hat!",  he suggests.  The book ends with a historical note on the familiar, nonsensical song. 
"Tap the Magic Tree", by Christie Matheson:
You know a book is good when Ms. Eileen and I design an entire storytime around it!  This interactive book takes the reader on a journey through the year of a tree with bright, simple, and cheerful illustrations.  We think kids will love it and enjoy interacting with the story.  It's like the classic "Pat the Bunny" for the next generation.

"Fall Ball" by Peter McCarty:

http://cache2.bdcdn.net/assets/images/book/large/9780/8050/9780805092530.jpgWe are big fans of Peter McCarty's illustrations here at the library; his "Hondo and Fabian" is a storytime regular and "Henry is Love" was one of my favorites of 2012.  "Fall Ball", is a story of playing outside on a fall afternoon that will resonate with children and their parents.  While looking through it I was immediately taken back to my own childhood and those wonderful days when the air is cool, the sun is warm, and being with your friends in your own backyard is like heaven on earth.   

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Our Top 10 Picks for Halloween!

I am officially in the Halloween mood today! So I thought I would share a list of what Ms Patty and I consider some of the very best choices for Halloween that we have at RML. Maybe after this, you will be in the Halloween mood too! (You know the kiddies already are!)
1. Janet Schulman's cute counting book is perfect for us in storytime, and who can resist the adorable circle-headed trick or treaters?

2. I have a soft spot in my heart for anything Ed Emberley ever did or will do. This is a favorite. Check out his website for some Halloween fun:

3. We both love Scaredy Squirrel. Here's his newest offering - more of a safety guide than a story, but fun to share with the kids or just let them pour over. Check out the link below for a video of Scaredy and his Halloween Safety Public Service Announcement. 
Just to be safe.

4. I am also a big fan of Wendell Minor, and Pumpkin Heads! is always perfect for the season. This is one I own at home and must break out with the girls every October. (FYI -There's a great Christmas tree one too!) Really beautiful illustrations.

5. hist whist is a poem by e.e. cummings that I LOVE for Halloween. Unfortunately, our picture book copy at RML has either disappeared or fallen apart over the years, and is no longer in print. However, you can check out our friend Mary Jo Maichack's CD, Howlarious Halloween, and listen to her read the eerily fabulous poem. Or go here to listen:

6. When I asked Ms Patty for her recommendations over the phone, she practically read me this whole book. I think she really likes it! It has lyrical writing and beautiful illustrations and was originally written in 1949. Good stuff stands the test of time.

7. I try to read this one in storytime every year. It's got goblins and creepies that try to grab your tootsies! Got the willies yet?

8. This one isn't necessarily a Halloween story, but I always think of it this time of year. It's super cute for really little ones because it's just 2 girls at their costume birthday party who happen to look almost exactly alike. A Pat Hutchins classic.

9. What can I say? I'm a child of the 70s.
Here's a link to some interesting facts about the animated TV special:
7 Things You Don't Know About the Peanuts Special 

10. If you don't read or hear these stories as a child, your parents and librarians are doing you a grave disservice. Really. Ms Patty made me stop telling the Jennie with the Green Ribbon story because I told it too much. THIS is Halloween, people.
And there you have it. Up for discussion, but these are some of our very favorite Halloween stories. What are yours?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Whoooo's in Storytime?

Ms Patty was just DYING to do an owl storytime. Whoooo am I to argue when we get to read a storybook like this:

 Yes, the little owl falls out of his nest, only to eventually be reunited with his mother with help from a purple squirrel and a band of other kooky characters. It just doesn't get better than this.

Here's some of the kiddos with their handprint owls: